Sunday, September 30, 2007

Humanitarian Days?

There's an election coming soon in Ontario and along with elections come...Promises!

The Green Party of Ontario is proposing six new statutory holidays, dwarfing a pledge by the governing Liberals that would see Ontarians receive one additional day off.

Under Green leadership, vacation days would be provided in March, April, August and November and municipal and provincial polling days would be holidays.

"It gives people more time to spend with family and gardening and cleaning the house and that makes people feel awful good about themselves and then they feel better at work," party leader Frank de Jong said yesterday in an interview.

I posted about something similar not too long ago. At the time, I believe it was the Federal party that was suggesting a shorter work day and/or additional vacation time. I don't recall the specifics of it.

Naturally, on the surface that sounds very appealing. But I spoke with a gentleman from Alberta (through work) recently who, while discussing an entirely different subject, brought up a different idea I like even more.

He took part in program with Habitat for Humanity which consisted of travelling to Mexico to help build homes for people in need of affordable housing.

What is Habitat for Humanity Canada?

Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit, faith-based organization working for a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. Our mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.
The organization was founded in 1985, consists of 30,000 volunteers and 70 Affiliate organizations from coast to coast, and is a member of Habitat for Humanity International which spans 100 countries, has built over 200,000 homes, and is now building a new home every 24 minutes.

I linked the above, but I'm not entirely certain that it's correct. This gentleman had explained that the organization he worked with was not a religious one, yet this clearly says that HFH is faith-based.

In any event, his idea was that companies should establish something along the lines of a Humanitarian Day (his name, not mine, but I like it). The point would be that once a year (minimum), a company could award an employee a Humanitarian Day if said employee wanted to take part in a charity event of some sort. These would be cumulative and ONLY to be used for that purpose. One would have to provide proof of participation (because you just know some people would try to treat them as an extra vacation day).

I love it. The impact on a company would likely be minimal and it may just encourage some folks to get out there and do their part.

I suggested to him that he escalate the idea to senior management and I have no idea whether or not he did, but I'll talk to him again some day (it's the nature of my work) and if he hasn't, I will. I would love for this kind of thing to become common place.

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